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Michael's story: saving his wife's life

Meningitis life-saver Michael Lewis and wife EllenEcho newspapers

A Southend woman was saved from a potentially deadly meningitis infection after her husband's first aid skills led to him recognising the symptoms.

Ellen Lewis (51), from Thundersley, started shivering and vomiting then collapsed after coming home from a shopping trip. Fortunately, her husband Michael had recently taken a first aid training course with the Red Cross through his job and quickly recognised she needed urgent medical attention.

Suspecting meningitis, Michael called an ambulance and Ellen was rushed to hospital, arriving just as a tell-tale rash associated with the disease appeared. The infection had reached a stage where it could have easily become deadly if not treated immediately.

A lucky escape

Fortunately hospital doctors were on hand and able to administer life-saving antibiotics. After 11 days of treatment for meningococcal meningits - the most deadly form of the disease - Ellen was able to return home.

Ellen said: "It is frightening how quickly it happened. One minute I was there and the next I lost three days. I've had a lucky escape and am so pleased Michael was paying attention to the first aid course."

So thankful

She continued: "I don't remember much about it, but Mike told me later he thought about his first aid training and there were several things it could have been. He worked through them and by a process of elimination came to the conclusion it could be meningitis. It was so lucky Mike didn't take any chances or I might not be here now."

Michael added: "I am so thankful to the British Red Cross, which provided the first aid training. I think it is something everyone should learn, and should be taught in schools."

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